It is an ancient fair, born to venerate the Madonna on the feast of her Assumption, which takes place inside the village, in the area surrounding the magnificent Sanctuary.
On 11 August 1425 Francesco Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua, declared the square before the Sanctuary a place of “free market of goods”. Since then every mid-August comes the Fiera delle Grazie, a union between sacred and profane. For the occasion a large food and wine market offers many opportunities to taste the typical dishes of the area. The most characteristic dish is the cotechino which is served from the early hours of dawn, sliced hot in bread, accompanied by a glass of Lambrusco wine.
The market is also enriched by many craft proposals, a small amusement park and fireworks.
What drives many people to make a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary these days is the request for a grace to Our Lady and the chalk competition that since 1973 has gathered more than 150 artists from around the world. The “Madonnari” paint sacred images on the churchyard with colored chalks throughout the night of August 14 until the award ceremony of the following day. Many works of art remain on asphalt for months.